Here's why you won't find a baseball writer in America who doesn't like Charlie Manuel:
The baseball postseason is a media scrum like you wouldn't imagine. It is completely different from the first 162 games of the season. Instead of one-on-one access with players and coaches, the sheer number of outlets covering events like the NLCS dictates that Major League Baseball take control. Instead of meeting with a six or seven traveling beat writers in the dugout, the manager speaks at a press conference, where reporters are lucky to get two or three questions. Very rarely is there a follow-up. Charlie Manuel wasn't built for press conferences. Which is why events like today are nice. Phils PR man Greg Casterioto sent out a text message this morning informing the local beat writers that Manuel wanted to meet with them after his scheduled press conference. After the clubhouse closed, we walked into a hallway and gathered around a table with him. For 10 minutes, we talked baseball. No TV cameras. No big-picture questions. Just a chance to pick his brain.
It may not seem like much, but it is a nice change of pace from the cattle call that is the playoffs. And it gave us an opportunity to get a lot more insight on yesterday's win.
The most interesting thing that came out of the session was when one of my fellow scribes asked Manuel what his plan was if Lidge were to have exhausted himself recording the final out of the eighth inning. What if the Dodgers had tied the game? What if Lidge was unable to record all four outs?
Manuel raised his eyebrows.
"You guys didn't look down in the bullpen?" he asked.
We all shook our heads. At that point in time, most of us were frantically trying to re-work out game stories from a headline that read "Phillies squander chances; Series even" to "Matt Bleeping Stairs"
"Clay Condrey?" someone ventured.
"We had Condrey down there," Manuel said.
But the Phillies No. 2 option wasn't Condrey. It was Brett Myers. When Lidge took the mound, Manuel and pitching coach Rich Dubee sent Myers down to the bullpen as a safety option. He never warmed up. But he was there. Imagine what kind of story that would have been, given Myers' well-documented love affair with closing, which he gave up this season when the Phillies acquired Lidge.
What was Myers thinking?
"Probably the same thing we were thinking," Manuel said. "At the same time, Lidge was going to be in there for awhile."
Not earth-shattering news. But a little bit of a different look at the end of last night's game. I found it interesting, anyway.